Durban — In what is believed to be revenge for his removal as eThekwini deputy mayor, Philani Mavundla is said to be hatching a plot to oust the ANC from power in the City.
Several sources from different parties in eThekwini, who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity, on Monday said soon after Mavundla lost his court case against the council, he started courting opposition parties to assist him to remove the ANC.
A source said Mavundla believed that since he was the one who rescued the ANC when a DA-led bloc appeared to be walking away with the mayorship when the council was constituted after the local government elections, he could still do the same.
He and the parties he had been talking to were planning to file an urgent motion of no confidence against mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to be tabled in a full council on Thursday. Another source said Mavundla was banking on the EFF to help remove the ANC, adding that he had not spent much time courting the DA and the IFP since he knew they also wanted the ANC out of power but had wanted to win the support of the EFF as well.
An EFF councillor, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mavundla had met the national leadership of the EFF in Johannesburg – but the outcome had not been disclosed to councillors.
All would come to light when the party caucus met on Tuesday or on Wednesday, he said.
The councillor said the EFF was clear that it did not want Kaunda as mayor which put the ANC in a precarious position to either sacrifice Kaunda or lose power completely in the City.
“I think Mavundla was strategically courting the EFF because he knew that it did not want Kaunda and it had demonstrated that during the last council meeting, so winning over the EFF was very important for him to succeed. The possibility is that the EFF may say ‘we can vote against the motion, provided the ANC removes Kaunda and replace him with someone else’,” said the councillor.
Kaunda and Mavundla’s relationship soured after Kaunda rebuked him in an explosive WhatsApp text where he accused him of behaving like a mayor while his party only had two seats.
Another councillor from small parties said he had been informed that Mavundla had told parties that in a new coalition, he would like to take the chief whip position, not the deputy mayor’s position anymore. In the new arrangement, the mayor was expected to come from the DA while other positions were to be shared among other parties.
DA caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa confirmed that his party had spoken to Mavundla but denied that it intended to file for a motion of no confidence. Mthethwa said his understanding was that Mavundla was now part of the opposition after his relationship with the ANC ended.
On whether the opposition parties would field candidates for the chief whip and deputy mayor positions, he said they had not yet decided.
Mavundla refused to comment on the claims but invited the paper for a sit-down interview. The EFF regional chairperson Themba Mvubu said his party caucus would meet on Wednesday and that is where they would get a directive from the national leadership on who they will vote for within the council.
Mvubu, however, said his party was not happy with the current administration. He confirmed that Mavundla had spoken to them but denied that it was about a plot to dislodge the ANC. The EFF’s comment was regarded as a U-turn after the ANC helped it to get the Municipal Public Accounts Committee chairperson position a few months ago.
The party had reportedly accepted to work with the ANC to remove the IFP in hung municipalities, but it looks like it had reneged on the deal.
This paper understands that the IFP had a meeting with the EFF in Johannesburg recently.
The party caucus leader in eThekwini, Mdu Nkosi, said his caucus too had not yet met to discuss whether it would field candidates or would support candidates agreed upon as opposition.
ANC eThekwini regional spokesperson, Mlondi Mkhize, said his party was not aware of any motion being plotted against its administration in the City.
He said the ANC had agreed on the names of the candidates for chief whip and deputy mayor position. The party was also expected to meet the small parties bloc on Tuesday where it was expected to discuss what position it would give them as a coalition partner.